The MIT Blackjack Team started as a way to relax and make use of math skills for students of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Now the ex-students are a very successful group that has been playing for more than a decade and has won at least $5 million. The team has been featured in the Breaking Vegas documentary, in the Hollywood movie called 21, and in books such as Bringing Down.
At the beginning of their career the players learned how to count cards. They originally practiced in the Boston Chinatown, but soon they moved up all the way to Las Vegas. Sponsors were needed in order to do that, but they were willing to invest because the profits went as high as 154%.
When improving and refining their cart counting skills, the team was the first to use Ace Tracking and Shuffle Tracking. Ace Tracking means finding out when a “plus” of aces comes out because that increases the chances of winning by about 35%. Shuffle Tracking refers to the cards not always getting mixed up enough when shuffled.
The team was always quite unusual because high rollers in blackjack were expected to be middle-aged or older white men. In the MIT team there were relatively many women as well as other ethnicities, such as Lebanese and Saudis.